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Why L&D professionals should know a few marketing techniques for e-learning

If you look around you, weather you are at the office, at home or even in some means of transportation it’s highly likely you will see something (or things) that you have purchased after watching an add or simply seeing that item cleverly positioned on a store shelf. Most probably the device you are currently reading this article on was bought based on what the manufacturer stated about it and how that suited your needs at that time. Or it just looked nice and it was on sale.

Regardless the reasons, the marketing efforts made for that product facilitated the purchase.

People in today’s consumerist society like to buy things and feel good when they think they have made an informed decision. Of course it often happens that at a later time one realizes that a certain item or service was really not necessary but the truth of the matter remains it felt good to buy it.

Marketing techniques for e-learning

Corporate learning specialists tend to spend a lot of time and effort on providing quality e-learning content and expect employees to just jump at the opportunity to enroll. Even with the best programs available engagement scores are rarely as high as L&D managers would like.

But with the use of simple marketing strategies, that can change:

Internal communication

All major companies have a department (big or small) specialized in internal communication. There are a lot of things that have to get across to employees from various fields, regions and sometimes even cultures so it’s important that messages are thought of by trained professionals. They have the know-how to put together comprehensive campaigns that are in line with the company’s ideological and graphic identities.

There is a certain rhythmicity required for teasers and reminders to be effective. L&D departments should employ the expertise of these people to spread the word about their programs.

It’s best if the internal communication people act as senders of the message not merely as advisers because if information about new and available e-learning material comes from the exact same source as news of market developments and the company’s long term objectives, it automatically seems equally important.

Communication regarding the learning programs should be continuous and coherent – this is an indicator of how seriously a company is about the development of its employees.

Message from an executive

Another great way to get people to ‘buy’ the learning programs is to have a CEO or executive recommend it. If they got that high up the corporate ladder, they must know a thing or two about personal development.

You are more likely to buy a hair product if it gets thumbs up from a renowned stylist, a certain brand of yogurt if it is recommended by a well-known nutritionist or a certain frying pan if Gordon Ramsey uses it. High ranking professionals are the superstars of an organization and the perk is they don’t need to be paid in order to promote learning.

Weather they agree to put their name at the bottom of an email, talk about the programs when meeting with employees or starring in a short video, their message will hold great weight.

Of course it will be necessary to first convince them it’s all about quality programs that will show a positive impact on employee engagement and company results. Once more, the help of communication experts might come in handy to prepare for meeting the ‘chiefs’ – having a catchy message and good visuals can only be advantageous.

Aim for the box office

We live in a highly visual world and movies keep gaining in popularity. A new box office record was only recently established by a bunch of superheroes and one very bad (though terribly good at his job) villain. Harnessing the enormous engaging power of trailers can be successfully used to promote e-learning.

Great videos can be easily created using today’s user-friendly technology and the imagination of L&D specialists. You just need to make it colorful, catchy and fun.

“This summer, coming to any laptop, tablet or smartphone in your hand...” can be the phrase that gets enrollment rates up. If people are amused or intrigued, they will go and click on the link at the end of the trailer.

It’s important to show how the learning experience will be a pleasant one and what there is to gain from it. Making and putting up posters before the ‘release’ can also work as a great awareness tool.

All in all

There are a lot more marketing techniques that can be used to promote e-learning content. Ultimately it too is a product that people need to buy – not with currency but their time and effort. If presented properly it can only be a win-win interaction.

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